All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for May 2004

Multiple sclerosis attacks are associated with picornavirus infections

[Picornaviruses are a group of viruses which include the common cold (Human rhinovirus 1A)]

Mult Scler. 2004 Apr;10(2):145-8
Kriesel JD, White A, Hayden FG, Spruance SL, Petajan J.
Department of Medicine, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT 84132, USA.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic demyelinating disease of the central nervous system, which often follows a relapsing-remitting (RR) course with discrete attacks.

MS attacks have been associated with upper respiratory infections (URIs), but the specific viruses responsible have not been identified.

We studied a cohort of 16 RRMS patients experiencing URI and followed them for clinically identifiable attacks.

The viral causes of 21 separate URIs were investigated using culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of nasal swab specimens, and by serology.

Sibleys 'at-risk' period for MS attacks, beginning two weeks before and continuing for five weeks after a URI, was used for the analysis.

Seven of the nine (78%) URIs due to picornaviruses were associated with an MS attack during the at-risk period.

By contrast, only two of 12 (17%) picornavirus-negative URIs were associated with an MS attack (P = 0.01).

The possible role of picornaviruses in the pathogenesis of MS deserves further study.